Monday, 18 May 2015

Monday 18th. May 2015

The latest High Elms LNR butterfly transect showed very little change from the last , with just 26
butterflies of 10 species , plus 9 Orange Tip eggs being recorded . The only new species was
Common Blue , with just a single male found . 6 Green Hairstreak were recorded , with four of those
being egg laying females , on their favoured Bird's-foot-trefoil . One of them showed a small part of
the brown upper-wing colour , explaining why they are so hard to spot in flight . A few Burnet
Companion , day flying moths , and a couple of migrant Silver Ys were also found . On the way
round , another Fly Orchid was found , now in full flower , and 7 Man Orchids , which were just
starting to flower , from the bottom up as usual . Also found was the first White Helleborine of the
year , though still to flower .
A visit to Spring Park Pond proved very quiet indeed , with just two immature Azure Damselflies ,
and about a dozen Large Red Damselflies , two of which were attempting to clasp and mate with the
other , only no one told them that they were both males , as can be seen by their markings .
Friday turned out a bit better than forecasted , so decided to have a look at New Hythe , especially as a couple of Turtle Doves and Cuckoos had been reported recently . Everything was very wet from the previous day's rain , but hearing a Cuckoo calling I made my way to the Sunken Marsh , catching just a glimpse before it dropped out of sight . Even if it hadn't , I would have been shooting into the sun , so decided to get round to the river side , arriving just to see the back end of the bird fly across it and calling from the other side . I stayed in cover hoping that it would return , but it didn't . I was just about to give up , when the rarest sighting of the day appeared from the vegetation behind me , Phil / Sharp by Nature , the local blogger . Phil was thinking the same as myself , and with the bird seemingly staying over the river , we had a chance to catch up on things , before moving on over the mound , around Abbeymead and across the railway to the East Scrub . Lots of immature damselflies
on the way , the best being this immature drab form female Common Blue Damselfly . Another senior moment , should read immature Red-eyed Damselfly - thanks for the correction Marc . Also found in
the vegetation was a 14 Spot Ladybird / Propylea 14-punctata , and a small colourful moth that I have
been trying to identify since , without any joy . If anyone could help with the ID , it would greatly appreciated . In the East scrub , we had a fleeting glimpse of a female Hairy Dragonfly , but apart from that and several singing Nightingales and Common Whitethroats , our walk back along the millstream was un-interrupted . Phil left , but I decided to give the Sunken Marsh another go , first having my lunch . Arriving , I heard the Cuckoo in exactly the same place as earlier on , and like earlier it moved almost straight away , calling soon after from the Poplars along the railway line . I started back to the car park , stopping at the last fishing platform before the tunnel , alongside the paper factory . I thought I might get an in-flight shot of the bird , but that didn't happen either . But , whilst I waited , a rustle in the reeds and a reed stem toppling over , alerted me to a Water Vole , just 2 mtrs. from where I was standing . With the large lens attached to the camera , I couldn't get far enough away to get it in focus , so had to swap to the 100mm. macro lens . The Vole took my
presence and the lens change in it's stride , and gave a most enjoyable 10 minutes as it demolished a small area of reedbed at an astonishing rate . The amount eaten to the size of the animal
was incredible , but it all came to an end as a couple of dog walkers approached , although completely at ease with the sound of the camera shutter , the first sound of their voices and the Vole disappeared deep into the reedbed , not to be seen again . I had intended to head home , but something made me turn off at the Ham Street water treatment plant and park up again . A short walk towards the diver's bridge found a male Hairy Dragonfly patrolling the ditch , and although I waited for almost half an hour , he didn't come to rest once . Also in the ditch , a Moorhen's nest with at least two eggs . I then had another look along the ditch to the East Scrub , finding as before very little , but as I approached the Scrub , ringing out from alongside the railway was the call of the Cuckoo again .
I made my way to the far end of the ditch , and against a dull sky managed to get a few shots of the bird before flying towards the railway crossing , where it again perched high in the trees . I caught up
with him just as he was making his next move and managed o few in flight shots before it flew acoss the railway line and was next heard over the other side of Abbeymead . Must admit , I was glad he had flown some distance as my energy levels were running on low by now .
On Saturday I made a visit to Hutchinsons Bank and had an enjoyable couple of hours wandering about the site and whilst doing so recorded 16 species of butterfly , albeit 9 of those producing a singleton sighting . Brimstone still the most numerous species , but 5 Common Blue and my first
Brown Argus of the year , a male , added to the mix . Down on the bottom track , a female Holly
Blue was also a year first . No sign of Small Blue or Painted Lady that Martin had recorded in the previous couple of days , but a Long-horned Beetle which I think is Stenocorus meridianus , but
as always stand to be corrected  , also added to the interest on the visit .
With a Fun Walk going on over the Common and surrounding areas , I hadn't intended to go out yesterday , but an afternoon call from Martin had me hot-footing it back to Hutchinson's Bank , where he had found at least 2 Glanville Fritillaries on the wing . Thankfully they were still around
when I arrived and the sun was still out too . A great way to finish off the weekend photographing
this superb butterfly . Hopefully , more will emerge during the next few days , and hope these two survive today's heavy rain and strong winds . I have since read that the species emerged on the Isle of Wight over this weekend too .


Marc Heath said...

A nice write up Greenie, I think your Damselfly is an immature female Red eyed rather than Common Blue? As regards to the fritillaries, I think you may have done last year but any chance of where to park, look, time of day etc. thanks.

Warren Baker said...

Nice flutter shots Greenie, especially like those Green Hairstreak :-)

Phil said...

Nice round up Greenie. Well done with the Water Vole!